Once again, the NFL’s franchise tag deadline has come and gone for the Green Bay Packers. As a result, they will need to work hard this week to sign their free agents before Friday’s open negotiating period begins at 4:00pm ET. This negotiating period lasts for three days and allows NFL teams to begin talking to all available free agents.
It’s not a huge surprise that Ted Thompson opted not to use the team’s franchise tag again this season. The last couple of times Thompson has used the tag were on defensive tackle Ryan Pickett (2010) and defensive tackle Corey Williams (2008). A long-term deal was reached shortly after tagging Pickett, and Williams was traded to Cleveland soon after being tagged.
Some media outlets are shocked that Randall Cobb didn’t receive the franchise tag – especially after big name receivers Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas were tagged by Dallas and Denver, respectively. While the Packers could easily have absorbed the $12.8 million it would have cost to hold on to Cobb for 2015, it’s not a surprise that Thompson chose not to at that price, especially since the team’s leading receiver, Jordy Nelson, is currently getting $10 million per year. That could very well be the number that the Packers have in mind for Cobb. But Cobb may have a higher number in mind.
If the Packers are not able to reach a deal before the official start of free agency on March 10, there are some teams with major salary cap space that may potentially be pounding on Cobb’s door. Teams like Jacksonville ($70 million) and Oakland ($56 million) would gladly add Cobb to their receiver corps for the next, few years.
Hopefully Cobb realizes that he has a good thing going in Green Bay with Nelson and MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Chances are pretty good that he won’t see anywhere hear that kind of success with the Jaguars or Raiders. If Cobb remains unsigned until March 10, we’ll see if his loyalties lie with the Green & Gold, or just with the green.